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PTFE/Teflon became dielectric of choice for the usual reasons – low dielectric constant. The customer can pick between five RCA and three XLR terminations of increasing quality and cost. The review loaners were fitted with the top options, Furutech’s Rhodium FP601-R for balanced, WBT’s custom Nextgen 0110 silver/gold for single-ended. Yes, the RCA contacts and even solder continue the silver/gold thematic unbroken.

What’s pleasant with cable tests is that A/Bs involve only swapping of plugs, not moving about heavy boxes or components. With such quick changeovers the impressions of round A are fresh enough when B comes around. Fab. But the same ease quickly sours into a curse. Envision two solid hours of cable changes. It’s no different than being in a perfumery 37 flasks of fragrance later. Your nose finally fails and you escape for fresh air. I got that by making tracks to a colleague for a second opinion. Thankfully this confirmed my own notes. Else I’d gone bonkers sampling wires like cheap wine - head ache, blurriness and all. No matter. What did I jot down?

Tonal balance first. The Zendo Cables were mostly neutral albeit on the lighter side. They’re neither the warmest nor bassiest cable under the sun. I’d go as far as calling the upper bass/lower mid zone a bit lightweight This was modest but consistent in comparisons to other leashes, be it the bass runs behind Keren Ann’s nouvelle chanson breathiness of 2005’s Nolita, the debut of alt-rocker Eel’s Beautiful Freak or the e-rock noise of Pivot/PVT. There was somewhat less pressure down low than I’m used to. Bullish clearly isn’t applicable. That said this same range was wonderfully articulated as on Eel’s bass runs on "Susan’s House". Here were gains in tension, woody hardness and textures. On bass Zendo was about quantity vs. quality. A reduction of pressurization was traded for surprising definition and intelligibility.

Perhaps this minor LF reticence also supported the impression of particularly clear mid/treble bands – "crisper but good" as Jörg put it. In super-tweeter turf the Zendo also was airier than what I had on hand. I didn’t much care whether it meant that they were somewhat muffled or the Zendo guilty of an extra dollop of whipped air. I liked the Mundorf effect.

Whatever the reaction, don’t equate 'lighter, fresher, clearer' with hardness or peakiness. Here Zendo walks the narrow path of righteousness, being as direct and immediate as possible without going cyborg. I first keyed into that with chansonnière Keren Ann. "L’onde amère" kicks off with crisp e-bass and pearly guitar, later a billowy trumpet sneaks in. Prominent throughout is the extremely close-mike’d very present female voice. On the wrong system this can quickly default into the hissy, spiky, spry and coarse.